The Never-ending Bible Chapter: A Meditation for All-Hallowed’s Evening
Devotional Thought of the Day:
1 The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. 2 The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.
Hebrews 11:1-2 (MSG)
We can explain what faith really means for an individual only by pointing to the lives of those who have lived it in its fullness: Francis of Assisi, Francis Xavier, Ignatius Loyola, Teresa of Avila, Thérèse of Lisieux, Vincent de Paul, John XXIII; in such persons, and basically only in them, can we come to know what kind of decision faith is. As we can see in the lives of such individuals, faith is a kind of passion, or, more correctly, a love that seizes an individual and shows him the direction he must go, however fatiguing it may be—the spiritual equivalent, perhaps, of a mountain to climb, which to the ordinary Christian would seem foolish indeed but to one who has committed himself to the venture is clearly the only direction to take—a direction he would not exchange for any conceivably more comfortable one.
426 In Christ we have every ideal: for he is King, he is Love, he is God.
Hebrews 11, where the quote in red comes from this morning, like the Acts of the Apostles, are chapters without ending.
That is, as Pope Ratzinger does above, the list of people sent by God, the list of those who were seized by the love of God, and shown a way to go, never ends. They are added to the great cloud of witnesses, the people who are passionate about the passion of the Lord, and seem to overcome things that should exhaust them.
For such people, and yes, that includes you and I, there is only the life God planned for us (Eph. 2:8-10) that is the direction we would take, and the longer we wearily tread these paths, the more assured we are that there is no other path worth taking.
The strength, the confidence isn’t ours, otherwise we would go another way (as we too often try to do!) It is part of the love that seizes us, the ideal of Christ as we are called to imitate God, to imitate the Christ who has drawn us to himself. And in doing so, He has made us His holy people.
Paul talks of being united to Him, in our baptism, as we die with Him at the cross, and are raised to new life with him. He talks about the same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead being at work in us. This is the love(agape/cHesed,charity ) and mercy that is our gift, the grace that saves us, the charity that transforms us.
For us, it is often hard to see this in our lives. To understand this faith, this trust, this dependence on the love of God, that power which transforms us. And this is why Hebrews shares with us the faith of a few, and describes the faith of those to come. Their faith, their confidence, even in the midst of their brokenness gives us something to observe, a picture of what is going on in us.
Looking at them, seeing their sin and their transformation, we begin to understand what they counted on, the promises of scripture that they knew were fulfilled in their lives, and is being fulfilled in ours.
So this day, take one person of faith, who trusted in God’s work, in His love taking action, and consider that this is happening in your life as well!
And then cry out, confident in the answer, “LORD have mercy on me, a sinner,”
Ratzinger, Joseph. Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. Ed. Irene Grassl. Trans. Mary Frances McCarthy and Lothar Krauth. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992. Print.
Escriva, Josemaria. The Way (Kindle Location 1054). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Posted on October 31, 2016, in Devotions, Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI, The Way, Theology in Practice and tagged All Hallowed's Evening, Concordia Lutheran Church, Ephesians 2:8-10, grace, Halloween, Hebrews 11, Reformation day, Saint Josemaria Escriva, saints. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.